Heath and Reach Village Green Infringement Policy



What is a Town or Village Green?


Common land and village greens

Town or village greens share a similar history to common land. However, they are defined separately for the purposes of the Commons Registration Act 1965.

Village greens are usually areas of land within defined settlements or geographical areas which local inhabitants can go onto for the exercise of lawful sports and pastimes. Typically, these might include organised or ad-hoc games, picnics, fetes and other similar activities.

Whilst land forming town or village greens may be privately owned, many greens are owned and maintained by local parish or community councils. Some greens may also have rights of common (i.e. grazing of livestock) over them.

In Heath & Reach there are four Registered Village Greens: Thrift Road Recreation Ground, Heath Green which has two parts and Reach Green

Regulations affecting Village Greens

Under section 29 of the Commons Act 1876, together with section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857, a person who:

  1. encroaches on, or encloses a town or village green or a recreation ground allotted by an inclosure award, or
  2. erects anything on, disturbs or interferes with that green or ground otherwise than for its better enjoyment for its proper purpose

may, on the information of any inhabitant of the parish in which the green is situated, be summarily convicted by the magistrates’ court and fined at level 1 on the standard scale.

Examples of issues related to this Act

Parking on any of the Village Greens, erecting signage, anything that damages the Green.

Message from the Parish Council

Heath and Reach Parish Council and its residents should be proud of their Village Greens, in particular of Heath Green situated around the Pump House and Clock Tower as it is the focal point of the village. The Parish Council urges local residents, businesses and visitors to respect these Greens and not to park or erect any form of signage/object on them.

The Parish of Heath and Reach has four listed village greens, these are-

  • Bird’s Hill Green
  • Heath Green – junction of Leighton Road and Heath Green
  • Reach Green – opposite Reach Green and Bakers Wood Close
  • Thrift Road Recreation Ground

Any individuals who choose to ignore the requests of the Parish Council and insist on breaking the Law will be reported to Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) – the Authority responsible for the Registration of Common Land and Village Greens.

Registers of Common Land and Village Greens

CBC is responsible as a Commons Registration Authority and is responsible for maintaining the Registers of Common Land and Village Greens.

What it includes

This includes updating the registers when ownership of common rights changes, or where rights are apportioned. CBC will amend the registers when they are notified by the Land Registry of changes in ownership of land and will amend the registers in some instances to show changes of address. The council is also responsible for registering new village greens.

This register is a statutory document and shows all such registered land. Each area of common land and town or village green is listed in the registers under a unique ‘unit number’.

Each unit number in the register is divided into three sections showing details of:

  • land – this includes a description of the land, who registered it and when the registration became finally registered (there are also related plans which show the boundaries of the land)
  • rights – this includes a description of the rights of common (e.g. the right to graze 100 sheep), over which area of the common they are exercisable, the name (if known) of the person (the ‘commoner’) who holds those rights, and whether the rights arise by virtue of a separate land ownership by the commoner (i.e. they ‘attach’ to their land)
  • ownership – this includes details (if known) of owners of common land, but entries in this section of the registers are not held to be conclusive

The registers are available for public inspection free of charge. An appointment to view the registers can be made by contacting CBC.

CBC will also carry out official searches of the registers and provide certificates. Normally, a search is carried out when a property is being bought or sold. 

Adopted by the Council in May 2012
Last reviewed – 13th May 2019
Next review – May 2020

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